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DC State Historic Preservation Officer Completes Proposed Procedures for Preservation Review of District Government Projects

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

(Washington, DC) - The District’s SHPO has developed new procedures that encourage District agencies to coordinate early with the SHPO so that historic preservation concerns can be incorporated from the outset of project planning. The procedures are also intended to ensure that District agencies take a leadership role in the field of historic preservation, protect their historic and eligible properties to the maximum extent possible, and make fiscally responsible decisions regarding the historic resources under their jurisdiction.

These proposed regulations, which are based upon the federal review process mandated by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, define the processes that District agencies may use to comply with the city’s historic preservation law by taking into account the effects of their undertakings on properties listed in or eligible for listing in the DC. Inventory of Historic Sites, and by consulting with and affording the SHPO an opportunity to comment on the undertaking.  

The proposed regulations guide District agencies to initiate the historic preservation review process by providing the SHPO with information describing the scope and nature of a proposed project.  Based upon that information, the SHPO and the agency consult to identify any historic properties or eligible properties that may be affected by the project. If historic or eligible properties are affected, further consultation aims to assess the types of effects that the project may have. Any effects that are considered adverse to historic features trigger additional consultation to identify means that could avoid, minimize or mitigate the adverse effect. Interagency agreements are then formalized in a memorandum of agreement to complete the historic preservation review process.

The regulations also provide alternative procedures that agencies may use to comply with the requirements of the city’s historic preservation law. District agencies with projects subject to review under Section 106 may use the federal review process to meet their local preservation-related responsibilities. Similarly, the regulations allow District agencies to use existing conceptual design review and permit review processes to achieve compliance when their undertakings require a permit. Special provisions that specifically address the rehabilitation and construction of public safety facilities are also included in the proposed regulations.

The SHPO will begin coordination with District agencies this fall to solicit views on the proposed regulations.